Capitol Fax.com - Your Illinois News Radar » Red light camera fines totaled $1 billion over 10 years
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Red light camera fines totaled $1 billion over 10 years

Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019

* CBS 2

Illinois drivers have forked over an astounding $1 billion in red light camera fines in the past 10 years, according to a new study, and now some lawmakers in Springfield are reviving a push to ban red light cameras. […]

A ban would leave Chicago and many suburbs with significant budget holes. For example, in west suburban Oakbrook Terrace, a peek at finances shows a 2000% increase in fines collected the year red light cameras were installed at the intersection of Route 83 and 22nd Street. […]

The two cameras in Oakbrook Terrace raked in $5.4 million in one fiscal year. That’s 54,000 drivers zapped at one intersection, an average of more than 147 a day. […]

Chicago is the biggest beneficiary from red light cameras in Illinois, taking in $56 million in fines last year alone.

The Illinois Policy Institute study is here

The annual haul from red-light camera tickets statewide has more than doubled over the decade, with local governments collecting more than $113.2 million in 2018 compared with $53.5 million in 2008.

Red-light camera revenue outside Chicago city limits drove almost all of that increase, with $56.6 million generated in 2018 compared with $5.4 million in 2008. […]

Although the number of cameras statewide has remained relatively flat since 2010, each camera on average is generating more revenue than ever. Revenue per camera in 2018 was more than $185,600, compared with less than $150,000 in 2014, when the number of red-light cameras in Illinois was at its highest.

* Here’s more on Oakbrook Terrace

Oakbrook Terrace obtained its cameras after state Sen. Martin Sandoval, D-Chicago, lobbied the Illinois Department of Transportation, or IDOT, to allow SafeSpeed to operate cameras in the city, even though the need for a camera had dropped significantly, according to a 2017 Chicago Tribune report.

IDOT had previously rejected red-light camera requests from Oakbrook Terrace Mayor Tony Ragucci, for whom SafeSpeed has long been a top political donor. But the agency repeatedly found the intersections to be sufficiently safe. IDOT reversed its denial and approved the camera installations at Sandoval’s request, two months after the senator received a political contribution from SafeSpeed.

A year after IDOT reversed its decision on the Oakbrook Terrace cameras, Sandoval received the largest political donation in SafeSpeed’s history, $10,000. SafeSpeed investor Omar Maani gave Sandoval $5,000 around the same time, according to the Tribune, on top of a $10,000 contribution from SafeSpeed parent company Triad Consulting, where Maani is a principal.

SafeSpeed is mentioned in the federal search warrant delivered to Sen. Sandoval’s Statehouse office. Maani was reportedly the subject of federal investigators’ questioning of Cook County Commissioner Jeff Tobolski’s chief of staff.

* That Tribune report is here

In its 2015 application, Safespeed’s latest study cited half the violations as the 2013 one. Yet the suburb and Safespeed had something else that year: endorsements from lawmakers who received campaign cash from Safespeed.

One was from Sen. Tom Cullerton, D-Villa Park, who by 2015 had received $3,000 from firms tied to Safespeed’s owner.

He wrote a letter to John Fortmann — the top local IDOT official at the time — to “introduce” Fortmann to Safespeed and ask IDOT to approve the application. The need for such an introduction is unclear because, by then, Fortmann’s office for years had been working with Safespeed.

Records show another appeal came the very day the 2015 application was submitted to IDOT, from a more powerful senator: Martin Sandoval, D-Cicero.

Oakbrook Terrace is in Tom Cullerton’s district. Sen. Cullerton was indicted earlier this year on several federal counts. Something most haven’t noted yet is that his August 2019 indictment was issued by “The Special December 2017 Grand Jury.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

25 Comments
  1. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 10:36 am:

    The special grand jury point is interesting. It was clearly organized just to look at these corruption issues and was already past the normal term of 18 months when the Cullerton indictment was issued. If I recall correctly they can be extended up to a total of 36 months, so we’d be looking at the end of 2020.


  2. - A guy - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 10:44 am:

    Get rid of all of them.


  3. - Roman - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 10:44 am:

    == issued by “The Special December 2017 Grand Jury.” ==

    That is interesting timing. I would assume that was the grand jury used for the Coli investigation and had nothing to do with red light cameras. But probably shouldn’t assume — you never know how the feds get on someone’s trail.


  4. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 10:46 am:

    ===had nothing to do with red light cameras===

    I agree.


  5. - Perrid - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 10:46 am:

    Bad actors or corrupt contracts need to be looked at, but I legitimately don’t understand the hate for the red light cameras, generally. Proponents of the ban are effectively saying there should be no (automatic) punishment for running a red light, which is insane to me.

    We can talk about how high the fines should be, or about what actions local districts can take for people who don’t pay the fines, some protections make sense, but arguing against any kind of punishment seems nonsensical.


  6. - City Zen - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 10:46 am:

    ==Oakbrook Terrace is in Tom Cullerton’s district.==

    The intersection in question is Route 83 and 22nd Street. No crosswalks because there are no sidewalks.


  7. - Chicagonk - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 10:47 am:

    First Redflex and now Safespeed. Red light cameras should be banned in Illinois for the corruption alone.


  8. - Anyone Remember - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 10:48 am:

    Red light cameras do not go through the court system, a violation of Illinois Attorney General Opinion 92-013. The legislation got around this by declaring running a red light was not a moving violation. And in 2014 the Illinois Supreme Court dismissed a challenge to red lights. The required majority of 4 votes could not be reached as Lloyd Karmeier & Anne Burke recused themselves.


  9. - DIstant watcher - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 10:49 am:

    @Perrid: but the penalties are not automatic. They arrive weeks after the fact. Challenging them can mean taking off work to appear at an out of the way municipal office during the few hours appeals are heard. And the company that issues the tickets gets a cut of the action, incentivizing excesses.

    That’s not nonsensical, it’s practical.


  10. - Been There - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 10:59 am:

    While I agree the process needs to be worked on, especially the incentive by the companies to get a cut and pay their “consultants”. But I do think they have helped with people speeding through the light or not stopping on a turn (which is a lot of the tickets).
    We all yell BS when we first get the ticket in the mail but almost everyone I know, myself included, reel back and suck it up after you go online and see the video.


  11. - BigDoggie - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 10:59 am:

    Proponents of the cameras say it is about safety. Well, if that is true, then why not enact policies that mesh with that stance. Running a red light is dangerous and deserves a ticket. Coming to a near stop and rolling through a right turn on red at 1 or 2 MPH and getting a $100 ticket for it (which I guarantee you is the source of AT LEAST 80% of the violations) is not a public safety risk.


  12. - @misterjayem - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 11:03 am:

    And the company that issues the tickets gets a cut of the action, incentivizing excesses.

    And a taste of a thousand-million dollars is real money.

    – MrJM


  13. - SSL - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 11:35 am:

    Pay to play? Shocking. Sandoval and Cullerton are dirtier than my garage floor.

    This stuff is going to get a lot of air time.


  14. - City Guy - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 11:47 am:

    I agree in part with Perrid. I remember before the red light cameras were installed and it was becoming routine to see people blatantly running red (not yellow) lights. I don’t see that type of red light running any more.

    That being said there needs to be controls to make sure that the enforcement is fair and not just used as a revenue generator - which did not take place. Instead, they shortened the yellow light cycle and turned the cameras into an abusive program.


  15. - NoGifts - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 12:04 pm:

    They both increase safety AND revenue. win/win.


  16. - Powdered Whig - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 12:06 pm:

    I have lived in the City all of my life and never got a red light or speed camera ticket. I can also say that Chicago drivers are horrible - very impatient and self centered drivers. Not defending the red light camera program, but there is a reason why so many of these tickets get issued. Just saying.

    And before those that got tickets for turns on red go crazy on me, just remember that it is the law. If we don’t like it, the law should be changed.


  17. - A guy - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 12:11 pm:

    very, very few of these tickets are for running red lights. They mostly consist of not stopping at the line for the turn on red…the line where you can’t see if it’s safe to turn or not; that line.


  18. - Perrid - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 12:14 pm:

    NoGifts, most studies have shown they don’t increase safety, certainly not much. My guess, the people who aren’t thinking about the risk of running a red light (killing someone, for instance) also aren’t thinking about the legal or financial consequences of running a red light. That’s the uncharitable view, more charitably people that “accidentally” run a red light because they misjudge or aren’t paying attention aren’t going to be stopped by more consequences.

    I don’t think that means the cameras should be banned though. If one person out of 1000 thinks twice before approaching an intersection because we punish those who run red lights I think it’s worth it.


  19. - FP_J - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 12:22 pm:

    I’m glad to see the anti-camera line isn’t totally dominating here. If you don’t like getting tickets, the answer is pretty simple: don’t run red lights. My wife and I have gotten a few of them over the years and each time I look at the footage we clearly rolled through a right-turn-on-red.

    Some argue that these right-on-red cameras increase the risk of collisions from behind. But the real point is to decrease collisions from the side (the street you are turning onto). The delta velocity in a t-bone is usually much higher than a rear-end at a red light.

    Beyond all of that, pedestrians also stand to gain. I’m sure we’ve all witnessed people pulling up right into a crosswalk to turn right-on-red while only looking left for cars. Maybe pedestrians should start carrying air horns….


  20. - DuPage Saint - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 12:36 pm:

    They should put cameras on stop signs. That would really bring in money.


  21. - Rudiforte - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 12:50 pm:

    I have no problem with red light cameras. If one breaks the law, one should pay.


  22. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 1:00 pm:

    Thinking this has anything to do with public safety or enforcing the law is ignoring quite a bit of what has transpired since the first raids involving Marty at the center.

    In reality, this plays out like a “protection” shakedown with the revenue of the cameras paying the freight to keep everyone happy?


  23. - SSL - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 1:43 pm:

    Agreed. This had nothing to do with safety. This had to do with making money, and all the right people getting a share. Has anyone looked at who is on the payroll at SafeSpeed?


  24. - Froganon - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 1:56 pm:

    We have family members who have barely avoided being broadsided by cars speeding through red lights. Keep the redlight cameras and stop fining right hand turns. Mandate the length of the yellow light. Make the legislative goal safety and strictly regulate any revenue raised. This shouldn’t be this hard.


  25. - R A T - Tuesday, Oct 15, 19 @ 2:38 pm:

    == there should be no punishment for running a red light, which is insane to me ==

    You may not want to come to Springfield as you would be quite dangerous. No one here ever stops at a red light so you would cause all kinds of accidents if you actually stopped.


TrackBack URI

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Two DCFS employees on the AJ Freund case no longer have jobs
* Pritzker administration says Ald. Ervin's proposed delay would do "significant damage" to cannabis program
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Fundraiser list
* Do better
* *** UPDATED x1 *** New laws
* Because... Madigan!
* Question of the day: Golden Horseshoe Awards
* Hey, UIS! What the heck are you doing?
* Another reason ComEd got what it wanted in 2016
* *** LIVE COVERAGE ***
* Yesterday's stories

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............


Loading


Main Menu
Home
Illinois
YouTube
Pundit rankings
Obama
Subscriber Content
Durbin
Burris
Blagojevich Trial
Advertising
Updated Posts
Polls

Archives
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005

Syndication

RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0
WordPress




Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller